Thursday, October 29, 2009

The DarkSider Sparkles In The Dark

THE PLOT: As a loving husband I find myself being tolerant of what my wife finds entertaining. Perhaps this is mainly because she simply wrinkles her nose when I get in movies like The Erotic Adventures Of Pinocchio and The Sinful Dwarf (both of which I found remotely entertaining). I simply take them to my corner of the room to watch and she doesn’t ask questions. Lets face it, I watch a lot of crap no one finds entertaining. So as I look up to the Twilight calendar on our wall, with thoughts of how silly I feel when guests see it entering our house, I too wrinkle my nose and call it a day. Marriage is about tolerance my unmarried friends…learn it before you even think of doing the deed.

I should point out too my wife has gone to great measures in the past to understand what kind of film drives me. Matter of fact, and I still define this as “true romance”, she watched all the Star Wars movies when we first started dating. This was simply so she could catch up to me in the prequels. Attack Of The Clones was about to come out and when it did she sat by me through two hours and a half of that cinematic awfulness. Once again, tolerance kids…grinning and bearing it for the sake of making your significant other happy.

So…as mentioned above I have a rabid Twilight fan on my hands now. We have the calendar, the books, the Edward Cullen standee (ok we don’t have that yet but I’m sure its on order). I recall when she first started reading it her saying how it was going to be “the next Harry Potter”. When I heard the plot that revolved around vampires and werewolves (or whatever the hell they’re calling Jacob now) I said to myself, “perhaps this is the next Harry Potter”. Then I started to learn more and more about it. Stuff like a supernatural teenage romance angle which turns into a love triangle and that turned me off. So after the first movie came out, which sadly ended up being our son’s first official theater film, she kind of gave me a mixed review of it. Her fan-girl ranting of “how this could have been better” and “it wasn’t as good as the book” was nothing surprising to me.

Anyhow, she mentioned to me recently of how she really wanted me to go see New Moon with her. Actually, it was more or less a demand but we won’t go there. I kind of stomped like a two year old in a toy store that wasn’t getting the toy he wanted about not going. However, I reminded myself that this was the same lovely lady who went with me to see Star Wars AOTC. So I swallowed my pride and popped her special edition disc into the DVD player of the first Twilight movie. Now before I go on with the review, no matter what I say about the film let me make it clear we don't put up with any Twi-tardation on this blog…I do not want to hear email threats to harm me, yourself, stationary objects, farm animals, cryptozoology creatures and just about anything else you can think of. And that goes for all you Twilight fans who aren’t my wife either.

We start with a bit of spoken narration of our female lead Bella. For those of you just joining us on the site, the narration rule is simple. If someone at any point of the movie is narrating anything (written or otherwise) there is going to be some plot stupidity along the way. I understand that the books are told from Bella’s point of view but this is no exception to the rule, sorry. As she blathers on offering nothing deeply philosophical, we catch glimpse of a deer running through the forest in a scared manner. Bambi is taken down by a rather quick fellow and the scene fades out. So much for not pissing off PETA in the first five minutes of the movie.

Bella, played rather blandly by Kristen Stewart, is a bit of an emotionless high school girl with separated parents. She is moving from sunny AZ to dreary old WA thanks to her mother finding a new baseball playing beau. Once in small town WA, she joins up with rather drab father (that apple didn’t fall far from that tree) Charlie who is the sheriff in 'dem der parts'. Once Bella gets settled, they get a visit from her dad’s wheelchair bound friend Billy and his teenage son Jacob. We find out through Jacob’s kind exposition that he is a Native American who once knew Bella as a kid. Anyhow the point of this scene, aside providing information that will be valuable in the sequels, is Bella finds herself with Billy's old beater truck as a welcome back present. Gee…thanks dad, now I can be a laughing stock on my first day of school.

Bella heads off to her first day at a new high school. You figure that the quiet girl would get harassed and made fun of by everyone in site. However, after hitting a volleyball into a classmate’s head, she becomes the queen bee. Um…WTF? Did I miss something there? Wow, I wish I would have gone to that high school as a kid. Apparently they like anyone new regardless if they have the personality of a plain piece of toast. Later at lunch we get more of the movie’s two minute character explanations. This one gets a bit silly to be honest. Brace yourself…

One by one, the mysterious family known as the Cullens enter into the cafeteria. Apparently they recently moved there with their father Dr. Carlisle Cullen. The antisocial bunch are introduced one by one. You have Emmett, Alice , Rosalie, Jasper, Dopey, Sleepy, Doc, Moe, Larry, Curly, Harpo, Groucho and my wife’s fantasy boyfriend Edward. Edward, kissing Robert Pattinson’s ass firmly, is described at the most gorgeous of them all. However, he and the Cullens don’t bother much with the common folk. By the way, at this point I started to wonder how many people were in this school. It seems like there’s roughly 25 based on who we see more than once. Bella makes eyes with the clan and its apparent Edward is a bit interested in her.

Later that day in science lab, Bella finds out her lab partner is none other than Edwardo himself. She sits next to him and he immediately starts acting like Bella has herpes. After class he moodily storms out and heads to guidance. Bella, realizing there’s a plot to be developed, follows him. In guidance Edward demands to be transferred into another class but he finds out he is stuck there. Bella, apparently taken back by Edward’s pricky behavior, vows to find out more about him. I guess being a d*ck to women makes you interesting in the Twilight world.

"Dude I can totally see my house
from up here!"

Meanwhile in a plot line far away, a few people become fodder for a group of baddies. More on that junk later. However moving on with our “plot”, very slowly might I add, Bella is disappointed that Edward isn’t in class for the next few days. However, one fine day he is there waiting for her. Apparently he took his meds that morning because he is in a much nicer mood. The two banter away about, well nothing really, while working on their science lab. I guess we’re supposed to assume these two have an automatic connection but from here on out they have the on screen chemistry of two piles of sawdust.

Later that day, Bella finds herself almost getting run down by a runaway van. However, Edward rushes over thus stopping the van with his bare hands. Bella, who apparently excels in the “putting two and two together” department, starts to realize Edward is a bit different. Bella heads to the ER where she is treated by Edward’s father who oddly doesn’t look much older than Edward. After another moody confrontation with Edward, she moves on with life once again.

Slowly but surely Edward starts putting more moves, most of them rather shaky, on Bella. Bella starts to note more odd things about Edward. For example, his eyes change colors at times. I’m assuming that is because Edward has mood rings for eyes. In his case they would read mostly “moody”. Bella in turn starts to do a bit of research on the old Cullen clan. She asks Jacob during a visit to the beach about the Cullens. Young Jakey tells her about the legend of his people many years ago being at war with the Cullen’s kind. What “kind” is that you may ask? Well Bella does the research for us through a bit of a montage. She comes up with what anyone with half a brain watching could figure out. Edward is a dun dun dah…vampire. And his family is…dun dun dah…vampires too. She doesn’t confront him right away though because there is screen time to fill.

One night while walking in a dimly lit spot, Bella is accosted by a few drunkards. Before you can say “predictable”, Edward pulls up in his car. Normally a pasty white guy confronting a bunch of drunk guys would be pummeled but not in this film apparently. They all kind of back off giving Edward, “its ok man, we want no trouble” kind of stares. More exposition happens when Bella and Edward go out to dinner. We find out Edward can read minds but alas, he can’t read Bella’s. That’s what make her interesting to him. Pssst…Edward...that because there’s nothing on her mind. Haven’t you heard her talk for the past 45 minutes? She rarely gets out a full sentence.

Anyhow, back to the movie. Some more stuff happens, nothing really worth covering in depth. Eventually, Bella decides its time to confront Edward about his true identity. She follows him into the forest and with as much dramatic skill as she can muster, Bella calls Edward out as a vampire. The next couple of scenes prove to unintentionally funny. Edward races around the forest showing off his “talents”. He chucks tree stumps, climbs trees and juggles cats. Ok, well he doesn’t really juggle cats but he might of well have to look sillier.

Trying to be scary, he informs her he has killed people…gasp. He also admits to sucking off But Bella (and scarily I thought of Padme’s “oh well” reaction to Anakin killing the Sand People off in AOTC) apparently doesn’t care. Edward races with Bella to a patch of light to show her his true form which is…good god…sparkly. Yes we’ve all heard the legend of Stephanie Myers having her bloodsuckers sparkle like Rainbow Brite in the sun. However, one truly has to breathe in the ridiculousness of it to appreciate it. Hell, they even accompany it with a sparkly backing track. Jesus H. Christ…must move on with the plot.

So thus, according to my wife, a several page courtship is wrapped up in a few silly scenes. Bella and Edward become an item. Somewhere in between they explain Edward's origin in a ten second wrap up. Well that was easy. One of the first items of business, Edward introduces Bella to his "family". Alice comes in and says that her and Bella are going to be good friends. Why, well she can see the future. This power pretty much serves useless in emergency situations (see next few paragraphs). The Cullens are busy preparing a nice meal for Bella which she declines because she already ate. Rosalie gets rather perturbed by this and smashes a salad bowl. Yeah, that will show that b*tch Bella to refuse good old fashioned vampire cookin'.

Edward, in a bit that I guess is supposed to be thrilling and romantic, takes Bella on a trip through the trees. Wow being a vampire is so yeah. The romance continues until one night Edward sneaks into her room and kisses Bella. However with a ton of force he throws himself back claiming he can't go on. I however blame that on vampire premature ejaculation.

The plot goes on and eventually Edward introduces himself to Charlie when he goes to pick up Bella. Hold on to something because a whole horde of plot stupidity is on the way. That afternoon, Edward takes Bella out to play baseball. Wow being a vampire is so...never mind I used that joke last paragraph. Now get this, vampires only play baseball during thunderstorms. Wow, the national vampire baseball league must be a bitch to play for. So, the concept of vampire baseball in thunderstorms is their bat cracks are so mighty they break the sound barrier.

Ok...stop for a minute so we can examine this nonsense. First off, if they are so powerful hitting this ball, wouldn't the bats simply shatter from the force? Either that or wouldn't the baseball be reduced to dust when they're hit it? Are these bats and balls made out of Adamantium? Secondly, they play baseball in the middle of the woods with apparently no one around for miles. Are these ball cracks heard within a 50 mile radius or something? Parts of me think this was all thrown in for comedic effect but a greater part of me really believes the viewer was to take this stuff seriously. Either way, it comes off really silly.

"Hi and welcome back to Cooking With
Bloodsuckers! Today we're making garlic
mashed potatoes, steak and a holy water shake.
Heh heh, bit of vampire humor there."

The Cullens feel a disturbance in The Force and out of the mist (ooooh, an attempt at a dramatic effect) come the trouble causing vamps in the area. Edward tells Bella to play it cool while they discuss business. Dr. Cullen leads the discussion and kindly scolds the rogue vampires for their recent murderous activity. The baddie vampires James, Victoria and their leader Laruent apologize claiming not to know about the Cullen's claim to the territory.

Laurent pledges a game of baseball (are you serious) but before they commence a small wind blows the scent of Bella into the nose of James. This gives him a blood thirst for Bella but the Cullens stop him for now. they honestly want me to believe that this bozo couldn't pick up Bella on his radar without a gentle breeze blowing it his way? Sigh...must move on. Edward goes into panic mode and drives Bella out of there. He claims to have read the mind of James and tagged him as a tracker. Edward insists that they get out of Dodge before James tracks her down. Bella goes home and runs out on her father with no explanation like any nice respectable girl would.

The Cullens end up meeting with Laurent who apparently doesn't like James anymore or something. He gives them some quick advice and the Cullens all do their best to protect Bella. Alice and Jasper drive Bella away from the heat. Once they are safe, Alice has a vision of an old dance studio filled with mirrors. I guess this is to show Alice's powers but it honestly leads to no big pay off in the build up department. In other words, Bella ends up there five minutes later anyhow.

As mentioned above, James somehow tricks Bella into thinking he has her mother. He convinces her to come down to the dance studio. Going into generic bad guy mode, he begins taunting her while recording it all on a camera. I was honestly waiting for him to say "it puts to lotion in the basket". Before he can do anything, Edward arrives to confront him. I wasn't really paying attention on how he knew where Bella was but I'll assume he read the script.

So the final battle commences in a highly non-climatic manner. A few mirrors are broken, the guys violently dance around and eventually leads to all the Cullens arriving on the scene. Bella is bitten before all this and starts to go into the change. While the other Cullens off James (is it me or was that too easy), Dr. Cullen works to repair Bella's leg. However he insist that Edward sucks the venom out of her. Edward does but finds himself not being able to stop. This causes an array of jump shots and nutty editing that would give even non-epileptics a seizure.

Cut to a hospital bed where Bella is recovering. Her mother is there safe and sound with Edward sitting nearby. After a few more drawn out lines of dialog, the movie fast forwards to prom night which sees an injured Bella and Edward attending. Before going into the prom, Jacob arrives to relay a message from his father. Apparently he wants Bella to break it off with Edward. Edward arrives and shares an overly forced dirty glance with Jacob. Edward goes on to tell Bella that the wolves come out even when he leaves her alone for a few minutes. Hardy har har har sequel reference. Anyhow, the movie ends with Bella and Edward dancing the night away, the perfect moody couple.

Sigh. Ok where to begin with my final thoughts on this film. First off I have to address the story as a whole. Seeing that the book has sold millions, many people out there seem to be digging it. I'm not going to run off and say the story is bad or an awful idea. Matter of fact there is something intriguing about a supernatural love affair. However, I haven’t read it and really have no plans to in the long run. As stated previously, I am not a fan of teen drama or romance so I wouldn’t expect myself to “get it”.

However, I can understand why so many people like the Twilight series. It’s a general rule in my house that when the wife is watching TV, I’m usually not in the same room. She digs those teen drama series like One Tree Hill and Beverly Hills 90210. I feel hardly a connection to any of the characters in those shows and the same went for the characters in Twilight. If I were to assess the story I’d say this boils down to Transylvania 90210.

One doesn't have to read the story though to see what kind of clusterf*ck of a translation to film was made. The movie seems to drag it's feet for an hour thirty. Then by the time it decides to get things moving the film is in a little place I like to call "Who Gives A Sh*t Land". The villain department is insanely weak and at no point did it feel like there was a dillemna for the protagonists to overcome. Hell, the bad guys stood less of a chance in this film than a marshmallow facing a flamethrower.

Perhaps where the film suffers most is either in the acting or script department. I say those two options because I can't decide if it was either one (or maybe even both) contributing to the train wreck. Most of the people in the film are pretty looking folks but can't seem to serve up any form of decent dialog. Matter of fact the acting was quite painful to watch at times. Mix that with awful lines like "This kind of stuff doesn't exist" with retorts like "It does in my world" and its enough to request a morphine drip while watching. Special effect wise it really doesn't do anything out of the box when it comes to vampire appearance or movement. Matter of fact, if anything I'd say the film tries too hard to make these vamps look/move different. It becomes a bit comedic after a bit.

After watching this I've decided there is no way Twilight is for me. Nor do I think it is the next Harry Potter esq book to movie series. Yes it's popular and continues to do immensely well. However the Harry Potter series did a fine job of capturing the imagination of men, women and children alike. Although Twilight may have guy fans (its ok to own up to not liking it to your girlfriends by the way guys) I think the ladies can relate to the tale more. Hell, it finally gives many ladies something to be nerdy about which I'm cool with. Though I will never 100% understand it's popularity, I'd say its perfectly OK to wear that Team Edward or Team Jacob shirt in public. Well unless you're my wife.

Speaking of which I dedicate this review to my wife who will never admit to being as big of a nerd as I am. Ha! Beat that sh*t Edward Cullen!


(the A-Holes of the film get their moment)


Perhaps this guy should have tried a GPS

to be a better tracker.


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